Jan

14

2020

Transformational Storytelling & the Age of Distrust: A Conversation From Jordan Bower

We all have that one friend that can tell a story so well that the entire room listens to it. While some people are naturals when it comes to storytelling, there is no real secret to perfecting one’s storytelling abilities.

What is a story to be exact? According to Jordan Bower, Chief Storyteller at Transformational Storytelling, storytelling is emotion. I can rephrase. Storytelling = emotions, it is what a person can or has experienced. Since everyone, at least the majority of people, has emotions, everyone has a story to tell.

So how do you tell a good story? Like I mentioned earlier, there is no secret to storytelling but there are ways you can guide your audience on your journey that make it more appealing and here’s how.

Creation

Our stories come from our brains, our hearts, and our stomachs. This can be translated into facts, emotions, and instincts. These are three components that each story possesses and can build from each other. Facts support your story, gives it credibility to your audience. Emotions give your story a connection, a way your audience can relate to you or your brand. Instinct, aka your gut feeling, provides a unique and personal touch to your story. It is what feels right to you or how you handled a situation that no one else has done.

Prototyping

You have a story so now what? What is so great about a story is that it never truly ends. It can easily be picked up wherever it is left off because as all things do, it grows and develops. Companies are starting to transition away from a one-story brand and are creating a living one that is always changing. An example of this can be seen in Nike’s brand as it has multiple layers. They are for athletes, adventure seekers, fitness gurus, and athletic fashionista’s. Prototyping is a way for you to experiment on how you tell your story and how it progresses. It is where you will find the most failure and growth. But it is important to remain authentic and true to your story’s beliefs.

Self Reflection

Once you’ve settled on a narrative that you want to try, its time to move onto analysis or self-reflection. Sharing it with others, providing more research to support your stance, or reading and researching similar stories are great ways to grow your story’s strength. The stronger your story the more impactful it is. The more time you spend analyzing your story the better you will understand your audience and how it connects to your living brand. This isn’t, really, the final step as your brand is always moving and growing. You will find yourself going back to prototyping as your business model matures and as you mature as a storyteller. You will understand what works and what might need more work.

Above all, have fun with it! It is your story after all. Show off your uniqueness, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your growth. Be silly or dramatic, play into your story’s emotions and become more connected to your audience. There is no secret to storytelling other than being truly and authentically you.

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Nov

13

2019

Technology vs Marketing: How Using Human Connection Can Help Your Business Grow

Most of us have seen movies where robot take over such as The Matrix and The Terminator. But it wasn’t those movies that freaked me out about robots, it is the fact I received 5 robocalls in 5 minutes early that day. It is not uncommon these days to get text messages from robots telling you to vote for a candidate or to sell you some sort of scam. And it does not just stop at the robot calls. They follow me, website to website, with the exact products I just happen to be browsing through a couple of seconds ago. Technology has given us the ability to track people so well that some software is adapting the ability to predict your behavior. And while I will discuss machine learning and its influence on marketing in a separate post, I want to focus on the importance of providing a human touch in an age that is so focused on technology.

“Over two-thirds of your marketing is done without you.”

Author of ‘Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins”, Mark Schaefer explains how people are not looking to companies to tell them what they need. Instead, they are relying on strangers to provide them that information, because we seem to trust strangers more than we trust companies. We let strangers drive us to the airport, stay in a stranger’s house, and even use an app to meet strangers. This isn’t a bad thing though. It shows us that humans trust humans. It has been like this since our existence. One of the best strategies of marketing is word of mouth. You trust what someone’s review or opinion is on a product rather than listening to the company tell you how great it is through a series of commercial ads.

In the past consumers were drawn in by flashy gimmicks of how amazing a product was and all the cool tricks it could do. The simple fact is that most consumers don’t care about that anymore. When selling a product they aren’t looking for the flashy features, they care about who is making those products and the values the company practices.

“The focus has been on technology, not people”

Schaefer exclaimed. “Marketing is now about their (the customers) story.” What humans crave more than the basic needs of food, water, and rest is human connection and understanding. The best way to achieve this is by sharing our human emotions. We all feel them and experience them in our day-to-day lives so what not sell to those needs.

A great example that Mark Schaefer used is the ‘Question Madness’ campaign that North Face did two years ago. The two-minute video only uses two sentences that are said in the very beginning and it isn’t North Face explaining how versatile their new heritage ski jacket is in extremely cold temperatures.

They used people’s personal stories and videos that captured their hardships and accomplishments. When these videos were put together it told a story of a community of people who go beyond the boundaries and test the human limit. What some people call madness, they call pioneering.

Instead of focusing on one of their many amazing products, North Face just established itself as the brand that will support you when you want to achieve the impossible. They did a great job of letting their consumers tell their story and in turn, invited like-minded individuals to join this community of people that question madness and always go above and beyond. By selling the value of the company, consumers can trust that any of North Face’s products will be top quality, not just one jacket they are trying selling out.

This new age of marketing is turning away from the traditional marketing methods of a company pushing a product to its customers and shifting it to a conversation between company and consumer. It is time companies listen to their consumers and to let them share their stories. You will quickly see how it will transform your brand, business, and growth.

In a world full of machines and technology it is the most human company that will win.

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Oct

15

2019

The Next Step In Social Media: Twitter Next

It wasn’t more than a couple of years ago that Twitter was predicted to meet its maker. The stock has seen a huge cut in revenue and hope was dwindling for the social media platform, but it persisted. As we have seen technology evolve every six months, it feels like, social media has had to step up its game to stay ahead of this extremely fast-paced metamorphosis. Not quite ready to leave the game yet, Twitter has introduced a marketing tool for businesses that make staying ahead of the trending curve that much easier and less time-consuming. It’s called Twitter Next and it is now your new best social media marketing friend. Twitter Next provides a way for businesses to better select their audience and tailor their message to their needs.

The goal of Twitter Next is to partner with the industry’s largest advertisers to provide an in-depth strategic plan to help businesses maximize their tweet campaigns. Twitter develops these personalized plans through advanced data insights that are gathered from the constant flow of tweets and conversation users have while using the social media platform. Looking at trending hashtags and retweets Twitter Next’s new algorithm is designed to help ease the research process by doing all the reach for you.

By partnering up with companies like KFC, Twitter Next has been able to create more interesting content that keeps users satisfied with their social media, and in this case, KFC needs. The personalization of Twitter Next is very appealing as every company is vastly different in its own right and thus each audience responds to different content. This also diversifies the content that is constantly being shown on Twitter keeping users interested in what will be posted next and who will be posting it.

It is smart of Twitter to use internal experts. Their long-standing expertise and advanced knowledge about the nuances of the updated features will help businesses effectively use the platform by staying up to date with consumer trends and engagement.

If you are interested in adding Twitter Next to your social media marketing metaphorical toolbox, contact your local Twitter representative or Direct Message (aka DM) @ajos on Twitter for more information.

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Apr

24

2019

Social Media Crisis Management: How to Prepare for the Expected and Unexpected

There is an old saying, ‘some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue’. That saying fits in a variety of situations, including social media crisis management. No one wants to have a bad day and no company wants to have to deal with a situation that could negatively impact their reputation and their business. It can be scary, but there are steps that can be taken to gain control of the situation to fix any social media crisis situation.

Have A Plan Before The Crisis

The first step to any crisis is to have a plan in case of a crisis. By having a plan already set, the crisis will seem less stressful. Jonathan Bernstein, President of Bernstein Crisis Management said, “Ninety-five percent of the crises I’ve seen in my 30-plus year career could have been completely preventable with advance planning.”

Own up

Be honest with your employees, customers, and yourself about the situation. It is one of the best things you can do to help ease any tension that comes from the situation. Trying to cover up the crisis by deleting a post or negatively attacking the accuser only leads to a negative impact on the company’s image and business.

Start Responding

It is one thing to say and another to do. Making sure the proper steps are being taken, and communicating those steps to employees and consumers to fix the problem is key. By doing this you will earn trust with the consumer and keep employees in a positive mindset about the company.

Understand the Situation

What is the problem? Knowing what went wrong will help you plan out how to tackle the crisis and how to respond to people. You don’t want to find out there was more to the situation from the media, because then you must backtrack to recover your now damaged image. Any surprises have consumers questioning the integrity and credibility of the company.

Don’t Fight Fire With Fire

With social media today, it’s hard to avoid reading how people are really feeling. Angry customers may post very negative comments about your company. You don’t want to delete any comments, and you don’t want to reply negatively to them. It’s best to explain the situation and the steps taken. Remember a crisis isn’t fixed overnight and you must understand why people are upset. You can’t get rid of the trolls, but you can come back in an understanding and positive way that won’t hurt your image any more than it has been.

Time Is Key

The sooner you can respond, the better. The first moments of a crisis are the most important. People are watching how you are reacting and how you are dealing with the situation. You want to stay ahead of the media. You want the information to come from you, so credibility is not lost.

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